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El Toro 13, Varsity 9

March 26, 2013

Trabuco Hills Girls Lacrosse Varsity lost a South Coast League match Tuesday at El Toro, 13-9.

EL TORO LOGOAt first, this match against El Toro, played at Los Alisos Middle School, looked like it would be a continuation of the last contest, an exasperating defeat at the hands of Aliso Niguel. The Chargers started quickly, controlling draws and pushing the attack as they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. However, this time, the Mustangs would respond.

It was not a swift response. Kendall Derbyshire and Hope Dodd each scored, bookending another tally by El Toro, and the game began tightening up. Unfortunately, on their next possession, the Chargers decided to make a statement, reeling off 4 unanswered goals as their speedy mid-fielders complimented their swift forward attack, accentuated by crisp passing, precise play-making, and the ability to find the seams in the Mustang defense with speed and accuracy. During this sequence, the Charger goalie was frustrating the Mustang attackers, turning away several quality chances. Would this continue?

Slowly, Trabuco Hills buckled down. Suddenly more effective in the center circle, the Mustangs began to increase their time of possession by managing the ball more effectively and showing patience in the El Toro end. As the activity around the Charger net increased, goals started to come. First, Dodd netted her 2nd, followed by a goal by Marina Sandoval. The methodical comeback continued as Dodd scored twice more, and suddenly the score was tied, 6-6! It was during this comeback that a new face was seen on defense when Delaney Shelton, normally an attacker, was inserted on the back-end to help off-set some of the speed El Toro kept pressuring with. Along with defensive leader Niki Neely, Shelton and Madison DuMond lent efficient support to a defensive corps that seemed to need a boost, and Alex Miller was effective on both ends of the field with both her speed and her tenacity.

After El Toro called a time-out, the Chargers were able to add 2 more tallies before the game slowed to a crawl. Both teams moved the ball and had their chances but neither could finish. Passes that could not seem to connect and a couple of costly turnovers kept the Mustangs from regaining any momentum, and the teams went to halftime with El Toro leading, 8-6.

The 2nd half started much as the first, with El Toro scoring 2 quick goals in an attempt to stifle any thoughts of a Trabuco Hills rally. But the gritty Mustangs would not quit. After a scrambling, chaotic sequence in front of the El Toro net, Dodd came up with the ball and found Hannah Redwine with a perfect feed which Redwine buried. As the defense stiffened, Jenelle Phillips was able to weave her way through traffic on the next possession for a goal, and then Dodd again was in the middle of a scramble behind the Chargers net, retrieving the ball and zipping a precise pass to Melanie Leong for the Mustangs 3rd consecutive goal, bringing the deficit to only 1 at 10-9.

El Toro, however, was very active in the passing lanes during the entire game and either knocked down or intercepted several Mustang passes, thwarting any further comeback; two of the late intercepted passes resulted in goals. El Toro received a yellow card with less than 5 minutes to play, giving Trabuco Hills an apparent advantage as the Mustangs battled to stage one more comeback, but a couple of mental errors took away opportunities and yet another ball was picked off as the Mustangs were attempting to break out of their zone, and the Chargers were able to effectively preserve their lead and run out the clock. Frustrated once again, the Mustangs would climb on the bus for what would seem to be a very long ride home.

Record: 5-4-2, 1-2 South Coast

Next game: Thursday, hosting San Clemente.

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